pirates, aces at it again

TONIGHT'S Absa Premiership match between log leaders Orlando Pirates and the league's upstarts Mpumalanga Black Aces at Orlando Stadium is a simple league match to mere mortals.

TONIGHT'S Absa Premiership match between log leaders Orlando Pirates and the league's upstarts Mpumalanga Black Aces at Orlando Stadium is a simple league match to mere mortals.

But it is more like a David and Goliath affair to the two clubs' former goalkeepers, Patson "Sparks" Banda (Pirates) and Cyprian "Mahala" Maimane (Aces).

"It could rekindle memories of yesteryear clashes between us," they said.

Pirates are on top of the log, while Aces are 12th.

Banda remembered their encounter in 1973 in Witbank. He said dribbling wizard Elias "Shuffle" Mokopane made a brilliant debut for the Buccaneers on that day.

"He capped his debut with two goals. We witnessed his rare natural skill and everyone left the stadium knowing that a Pirates star had been born," Banda said.

Maimane viewed Aces' matches against Pirates as being as big as Soweto derbies between Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.

"Tomorrow's (tonight's) game should bring people together considering the rich history between us. I wish former teammates like Steve Makua and Nick Seshweni were still alive to witness Aces playing Pirates in the elite league."

The Witbank side gained promotion to the Premiership this season.

Maimane used the interview to voice his disappointment at the PSL and Safa for "omitting Aces as the winners of the BP Top Eight against Pirates in 1980 at Orlando Stadium every time they talk about Top Eight winners".

Regarding tonight's clash, Banda said Pirates will consolidate top spot, predicting a 2-0 win for his former team. Maimane refused to commit, though he acknowledged Pirates' devastating form.

Today's fixtures

Goble Park - Free State Stars v Lamontville Golden Arrows (3.30pm); Orlando Stadium - Orlando Pirates v Aces (7.30pm); Super Stadium - SuperSport United v Moroka Swallows (7.30pm); Newlands - Santos v Jomo Cosmos (7.30pm); Chatsworth - AmaZulu v Ajax Cape Town (7.30pm); Milpark - Bidvest Wits v Mamelodi Sundowns (8pm); Woodburn - Maritzburg United v Bloemfontein Celtic (8.15pm).

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